Delhi Cabinet nod to salary hike for MLA's
The Delhi cabinet on Tuesday approved salary hikes for legislators in accordance with the Centre’s proposal, the government said in a press statement.
The statement, issued after a meeting of the cabinet chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, said, “Delhi Cabinet approves salary hike for MLAs as per Centre’s proposal. Delhi MLAs will only get a salary of ₹30,000. CM Arvind Kejriwal-led Cabinet approves Centre’s proposed salary for MLAs. Delhi’s MLAs will continue to be among the lowest-paid MLAs across India.”
It said, “Even as the cost of living in Delhi has risen substantially, the restriction imposed by the Centre has forced Delhi’s MLAs to be amongst the lowest earning MLAs in the country whereas MLAs of states ruled by the BJP and the Congress earn around 1.5 to 2 times the amount that the MLAs of Delhi will earn. The salary of Delhi’s MLAs hasn’t increased since 2011 and the Delhi government had requested the MHA that the salary of Delhi’s MLAs be at par with MLAs of other states. The basic salary was requested to be set at ₹54,000. However, the MHA refused to do so.”
According to a break-up shared by the government, the total monthly salary of ₹90,000 comprises ₹30,000 basic salary, ₹25,000 constituency allowance, ₹15,000 secretariat allowance, and ₹10,000 each for telephone and conveyance.
The break-up, however, does not mention several additional salary elements such as allowance for attending assembly sessions, committee meetings, medical facilities, pension, electricity and water reimbursements, annual travelling reimbursements and reimbursement for data entry operators, said a senior official who did not wish to be named.
The increase approved by MHA is likely to open up a new front in hostilities between the Centre and Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
“The Delhi Cabinet today approved the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, (Amendment) Bill 2021 and MLAs/Speaker-Dy Speaker/Chief Whip/Leader of Opposition of Legislative Assembly of Delhi (Amendment) Bills 2021. After Cabinet approval, the proposal and draft bills will be sent for MHA’s approval before being placed in Delhi Assembly,” the statement said.
The raise, the first since 2011, will mean Delhi’s lawmakers remain among the lowest paid in the country.
As per the data shared by the Delhi goverment, in Uttar Pradesh, a legislator’s monthly salary and allowances add up to ₹95,000 a month; in Gujarat, ₹105,000; in Bihar, ₹130,000; in Rajasthan, ₹142,500; in Haryana, ₹,55,000; and in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, ₹198,000 and ₹190,000 respectively. Telangana pays its lawmakers ₹250,000 a month.
Leader of the Opposition in Delhi assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said that the AAP government has failed to provide basic facilities to legislators.
Bidhuri, a BJP legislator who represents the Badarpur assembly constituency, said: “The Delhi government has failed to provide furnished offices to MLAs, vehicles and basic facilities. I have written to the CM’s office and Speaker in this regard. The Delhi government does not need the central government’s approval for such things. Now, they are trying to blame the central government regarding the current increase in MLA’s salaries even though that is adequate in the light of the pandemic and its financial implications. This is the time to talk about preparations against a potential third wave of Covid-19 and not issues such as salaries of MLAs which does not directly affect the public. The AAP government should stop looking for excuses to hide their failures on the fronts of public transport, health infrastructure, water supply, etc.”
In the 70-member House, the AAP has 62 members, and the BJP has eight.